Football Tribe SEA Editor
Chiangrai United’s defense of the Thai League Cup trophy ended in dramatic fashion last night. After coming from behind twice in the game, they were eventually defeated on penalties by a resilient Prachuap side, who will now face Buriram United in the showpiece event on the 28th of September.
The Killer Wasps took the lead 11 minutes in when Sakunchai Saengthopho fired a half-volley from outside the box which whizzed past the entire Chiangrai defense and found its way into the bottom corner of the favorites’ net, setting up the incredible upset.
After going behind, the defending champions had a lions share of the chances but struggled to convert until the 36th minute, when Lee Yong-Rae’s free-kick was headed in by Brinner Henrique to level the scoring heading into the break.
The game remained deadlocked until the final 20 minutes when it once again exploded into life when substitute Siwakorn Taitrakul fired in an incredible shot on the turn into the top corner of Prachuap’s net, which looked certain to take the Beetles into the showpiece final.
However, the drama wasn’t over there as Maurinho’s first-time volley in the area bounced off the post and found its way into the back of the net with just three minutes of normal time remaining on the clock to drag the game into added time.
The marathon semi-final continued as Jean-Philippe Mendy gave Prachuap the lead once again in the 98th minute, only for the defending champions to roar back with another goal in the 108th minute with an incredible free-kick by Peerapong Pichitchotirat, which perfectly nestled in to the top corner and ensured the game would need to be settled from the penalty spot.
*Finish description of penalties* Phitiwat and Somkid missed consecutive penalties, giving the Killer Wasps a major advantage and teeing up Maurinho to take the winning penalty.
Their opponents in the final will be Buriram United, who had no trouble seeing off T2 side Nongbua Pitchaya, comfortably winning 2-0.
The wear-and-tear effect of seven consecutive games away from home have certainly stretched Buriram’s squad, but they were able to field a strong eleven, with Nacer Barazite, Rasmus Jonsson and Suphanat Mueanta forming a front three ahead of Supachai Jaided.
However, it was a defender that eventually gave the Thunder Castle the lead, as veteran defender Apiwat Ngaolamhin headed in Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri’s free-kick, assisted by Supachai. The provider then turned goalscorer as Korrakot got on the end of Nacer Barazite’s cutback to seal the win just two minutes after half time.
Buriram will now go into this game as clear favorites, having won five prior League Cups, making them the most successful team in the history of the competition. Prachuap, formed as recently as 2011, has only spent two years in the top flight of Thai football and their only prior trophy was the third division title. Their immense victory last night has set up their date with destiny on September 28th.